Randy Evans

Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected]


Iowa is out of step on public access to police video

By: - March 15, 2023

Every few months, someone is killed or injured by police somewhere in the United States under circumstances that lead to inevitable questions about what exactly occurred. Typically, answers come when video from the law officers’ squad car cameras or their uniform cameras is made public. Each time this occurs, there are two inescapable conclusions: First, […]


Libraries shouldn’t look for excuses to exclude

By: - March 2, 2023

This has not been an easy time to be a librarian. Sixty-plus years ago, back when the library card was a coveted sign of my status as a young reader, Miss Botts and Mrs. Sager were never viewed as conspirators of controversy in the corner of the free world where I grew up. I never […]


A rural school teaches lessons on governing

By: - February 21, 2023

There is an interesting study in contrasts playing out right now in Iowa. One example comes from the Davis County School District in Bloomfield. It is the 96th-largest of Iowa’s 328 public districts, with an enrollment of 1,150 students. The other example comes from the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds. The Davis County school […]


Reynolds’ latest idea to restrict school books would let the minority rule

By: - February 8, 2023

A recent public opinion poll found that three-quarters of Americans want members of Congress to end their bickering and begin compromising more with their colleagues from the other party. The poll was conducted across the United States by Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion for National Public Radio and the PBS News Hour. If such […]


When ‘reasonable’ costs for public records become unreasonable

By: - January 11, 2023

The Legislature wrote Iowa’s public records law 55 years ago, and one of the tenets of the statute was the belief people deserve to know how state and local governments spend their tax money. Another important concept in the law is that fees for copies of government records must be reasonable and cannot exceed the […]


This Iowa GOP ‘trifecta’ drops the ball with vets

By: - January 5, 2023

In politics, having a “trifecta” in government is a good thing for a political party — until the trifecta’s inaction on some popular issue starts to haunt the party. Iowa Republicans served up an example of the consequences of such inaction in the days leading up to Christmas. The example involves military veterans, a highly […]


Artemis 1 moon mission stirs memories of Iowans’ ties to space exploration

By: - December 20, 2022

It is amazing what takes up room in our memory. Yes, our basement can accommodate stacks of storage bins and shelves lined with boxes filled with what we politely assure our spouse is “important stuff” from our life. Our memory is no larger than our head, but long-forgotten details are tucked away there amid the […]


The U.S. Supreme Court could fall on this slippery slope of discrimination

By: - December 13, 2022

Few people like being told what they must do. Lorie Smith is one of them. The suburban Denver, Colo., business owner, a devout Christian, builds websites for customers. She wants to expand her business and begin building websites for couples who are planning weddings. But she is adamant that she does not want to be […]


Iowa Democrats shouldn’t lose sight of what is truly important

By: - December 7, 2022

Judging from the furrowed brows and dire predictions in Iowa, you might have thought a national Democratic Party committee had voted to eliminate motherhood and apple pie last week. Actually, what the committee voted to eliminate were Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Democratic precinct caucuses — a quirky, though coveted, kick-off role for Iowa Democrats in the party’s […]


Rural Iowa should brace for school ‘vouchers’

By: - November 22, 2022

It won’t be long before empty parking spaces near the Iowa Capitol will be as hard to find as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. The Legislature returns to Des Moines on Jan. 9, more firmly in Republican control than it was on May 24, when this year’s session ended. With their strong showing in […]


Could another Mamie Till bring gun change?

By: - November 11, 2022

Mamie Till came along at the right time in American history. During the 1950s, in an era when many Americans were blind to the grotesque toll of racial hatred, this courageous Illinois mother stepped forward and opened America’s eyes. What people saw outraged them — the mutilated body of her 14-year-old son, Emmett, lying in […]


Where’s the GOP outrage over farm debt assistance?

By: - October 25, 2022

I try to stay atop the day’s news. But I must have dozed off last week — because I missed the response from Iowa Republican leaders to the Biden administration’s announcement of $1.3 billion in debt relief to 36,000 farmers who have fallen behind on their farm loan payments. In making the announcement, U.S. Agriculture […]